Inner city suburbs popular with same sex couples: ABS

Stephen TaylorJuly 24, 20130 min read

One in every 10 men living in a same-sex relationship in Australia in 2011 lived within two kilometres of Taylor Square in Sydney.

This statistic emerges from an Australian Bureau of Statistics study which found that Darlinghurst, Potts Point and Surry Hills historically have the highest proportions of male same-sex couples.

The study also found that, generally, same sex couples earn higher incomes, have more discretionary spending power, are less religious, are better educated and are more likely to be managers or professionals than mixed gender couples.

This makes them more likely to have money to invest in property.

The study found they are very likely – 51% as opposed to 15% of opposite-sex couples – to live in a unit, apartment or terrace house.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that while NSW had just under a third (32%) of Australia's total population, it had 41% of Australia's male same-sex couples, and 34% of Australia's female same-sex couples.

The study acknowledged that many Sydney suburbs with high numbers of same-sex couples have historically been the social centre of Australia's gay community – hence the strong support for the Gay Pride March along Oxford Street.

While same-sex couples are more likely to live in the inner suburbs of large cities or towns than in rural and regional areas, the top 10 suburbs for male and female same-sex couples are all in inner Sydney.

CAPITAL CITY SUBURBS (a) WITH THE HIGHEST PERCENTAGE OF SAME-SEX COUPLES (b) - 2011

 


 

Male same-sex couples

Female same-sex couples

 


 

 


 

% of couples

% of couples

 


 

 


 

Darlinghurst, NSW

17.9

St Peters, NSW

6.0

Potts Point, NSW

17.8

Newtown, NSW

5.7

Surry Hills, NSW

17.3

Erskineville, NSW

5.4

Elizabeth Bay, NSW

16.3

Enmore, NSW

5.3

Redfern, NSW

14.5

Lewisham, NSW

4.2

Erskineville, NSW

11.0

Alexandria, NSW

3.6

Alexandria, NSW

10.4

Tempe, NSW

3.5

Chippendale, NSW

10.3

Chippendale, NSW

3.4

Darlington, NSW

10.3

Marrickville, NSW

3.2

Rushcutters Bay, NSW

10.1

Stanmore, NSW

3.0

While male same-sex couples make up less than 0.4% of all couples across Australia the chart shows they make up 10%-18% of all couples in the 10 suburbs with the highest proportion of people in male same-sex couples.

NSW and Victoria have high rates of male same-sex couples in their capital cities - Sydney 0.7% and Melbourne 0.5%.  

The highest proportions of female same-sex couples tend to be in the inner west of Sydney, such as St Peters, Newtown, Erskineville, and Enmore.  

Female same-sex couples tend to be more geographically dispersed than male same-sex couples. In St Peters female same-sex couples make up 6% of all couples.

 


The 2011 Census found there were around 33,700 same-sex couples in Australia, with 17,600 male and 16,100 female.  

Same-sex couples represent about 1% of all couples in Australia. The pattern of more male than female same-sex couples has been consistent since 1996, when data first became available, although the degree of difference has decreased in each Census.  

Although the overwhelming majority of same-sex couples described themselves on the Census form as de facto partners, in 1300 same-sex relationships one person was described as the husband or wife of the other.

PERCENTAGE OF ALL COUPLES THAT WERE SAME-SEX, BY POPULATION OF CITY OR TOWN - 2011

samesaexjuly25graph11

Source: 2011 Census of Population and Housing

Consistent with its predominant urban character and more highly educated population, the Australian Capital Territory has the highest rates of both male (0.5%) and female (0.6%) same-sex couples of any state or territory.

PERCENTAGE OF ALL COUPLES THAT WERE SAME-SEX, BY STATE OR TERRITORY - 2011

samesaexjuly25graph22

Source: 2011 Census of Population and Housing

While there are more male same-sex couples than female overall, there are more female same-sex couples in all states other than NSW and Victoria (which have high rates of male same-sex couples in their capital cities). In Sydney, 0.7% of all couples are male same-sex, and in Melbourne 0.5%.

MALE SAME-SEX COUPLES AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL COUPLES, INNER SYDNEY - 2011

samesaexjuly25graph3

FEMALE SAME-SEX COUPLES AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL COUPLES, INNER SYDNEY - 2011

samesaexjuly25graph4

While smaller towns and cities tended to have lower proportions of same-sex couples, certain towns have high rates, particularly of female same-sex couples. These include Daylesford-Hepburn Springs in Victoria (where female same-sex couples 4.5% of all couples), and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory (female same-sex couples 1.2% of all couples).

Stephen Taylor

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